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Chapter 5. Civil Rights. Civil Rights. Rights rooted in 14 th Amendments’ guarantee of equal protection under the law (equal treatment) What government must do to ensure equal protection, to ensure freedom from discrimination

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chapter 5

Chapter 5

Civil Rights

civil rights
Civil Rights
  • Rights rooted in 14th Amendments’ guarantee of equal protection under the law (equal treatment)
    • What government must do to ensure equal protection, to ensure freedom from discrimination
  • History of civil rights – struggle of groups to free themselves from discriminatory treatment (African Americans, women, elderly, homosexuals, etc.)
  • Key cases: Dred Scott v. Sanford; Plessy v. Ferguson; Brown v. Board of Education
constitution and slavery
Constitution and Slavery
  • In apportioning representation based on population, constitution refers to free persons and “other persons” (or slaves)
    • Slave equal to 3/5 of free person
  • Supreme Court confirms constitutionality of slavery in Dred Scott v. Sanford (1857)
    • Slaves not citizens of US
    • Not entitled to rights/privileges of citizenship
  • Constitutional servitude ends with Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation (1863) and 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments during Reconstruction following Civil War
civil war amendments
Civil War Amendments
  • 13th Amendment (1865) – neither slavery nor involuntary servitude shall exist in U.S.
  • 14th Amendment (1868) – all persons born or naturalized in U.S. are citizens
    • States cannot abridge privileges or immunities of citizens
    • All persons (whether or not citizens) entitled to due process
    • All persons entitled to equal protection; citizens have political rights (vote, run for office)
  • 15th Amendment (1870) – right to vote shall not be denied because of race, color or previous condition of servitude
civil rights acts 1865 1875
Civil Rights Acts (1865-1875)
  • Aimed at enforcing 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments
  • Civil Rights Act (1866)
    • Extended citizenship to anyone born in U.S.
    • Gave African Americans full equality before law
    • Authorized president to enforce act through use of force
  • Enforcement Act (1870)
    • Set out specific penalties for interfering with right to vote
nullification of civil rights acts
Nullification of Civil Rights Acts
  • Reconstruction statutes, civil rights acts did little to secure legal equality for African Americans
  • Civil Rights Cases (1883)
    • Supreme Court rules 14th amendment only prevents official discriminatory acts by states, not by private individuals
    • Met with widespread approval throughout U.S.
  • Plessy v. Ferguson (1896)
    • Supreme Court rules segregation does not violate 14th Amendment
    • Established separate-but-equal doctrine
    • Provided constitutional justification for racial discrimination/segregation throughout U.S.
    • In South, Jim Crow laws solidified segregation (separate drinking fountains, seats in theaters, restaurants, hotels, restrooms, waiting rooms, etc.)
barriers to african american voting
Barriers to African American Voting
  • White primary – state primary in which only whites may vote
    • Southern politicians claimed political parties were private entities
    • Wasn’t outlawed by Supreme Court until Smith v. Allwright (1944!)
  • Grandfather clause – restricting voting to individuals who could prove grandfathers had voted prior to 1867
    • Used to exempt whites from poll taxes, literacy tests
barriers cont
Barriers, cont.
  • Poll taxes – required payment of fee to vote
    • Intended to disenfranchise poor African Americans
    • Outlawed in national elections by 24th amendment
    • Outlawed in all elections by Supreme Court in 1966
  • Literacy tests – required potential voters to read, recite or interpret complicated texts
    • Intended to disenfranchise African Americans
  • Barriers quite effective at disenfranchising African Americans
    • Note: U.S. didn’t achieve universal suffrage (i.e., become fully democratic) until Voting Rights Act (1965)
ending legal segregation
Ending Legal Segregation
  • Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (1954) – Supreme Court rules public school segregation violates 14th Amendment
    • Chief Justice Earl Warren claims separation implies inferiority
    • Overturns Plessy v. Ferguson
  • Brown v. Board of Education (1955) – orders desegregation “with all deliberate speed”
    • Court–ordered busing (transporting African American children to white schools and white children to African American schools to eliminate school segregation) met with considerable resistance
    • Today, many schools are segregated; little public or court support for integration efforts
civil rights movement
Civil Rights Movement
  • Key developments
    • Rosa Parks, Montgomery, Alabama 1955
    • Martin Luther King leads bus boycott
    • King’s philosophy of nonviolent civil disobedience to achieve racial justice
    • Formation of Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC)
    • Birmingham protest, 1963
    • March on Washington, 1963
      • King’s “I Have a Dream” speech
    • Black Power movement
      • Malcolm X
  • Violent response to non-violent protest movement produced groundswell of support
modern civil rights legislation
Modern Civil Rights Legislation
  • Civil Rights Act (1964)
    • Most far-reaching in modern times
    • Forbade discrimination on basis of race, color, religion, gender and national origin
      • Voter registration
      • Public accommodations
      • Public schools
    • Expanded power of Civil Rights Commission
    • Withheld funds from programs administered in discriminatory way
    • Established right to equality of opportunity in employment (created EEOC)
modern civil rights legislation1
Modern Civil Rights Legislation
  • Voting Rights Act (1965)
    • Outlawed discriminatory voter registration tests
    • Authorized federal registration and administration of voting where discrimination took place
      • Resulted in massive voter registration drive of African Americans in South
      • Led to increasing political participation on part of African Americans in voting and holding office
      • Increased participation of other minorities
  • Civil Rights Act (1968)
    • Forbade discrimination in housing, mortgage-lending
women s struggle for equal rights
Women’s Struggle for Equal Rights
  • Suffrage Movement
    • Connected to abolitionist movement
    • Suffragists organized first women’s rights convention at Seneca Falls, NY (1848)
    • Established women’s suffrage associations
    • Finally won passage of 19th Amendment (1920)
women s struggle for equal rights1
Women’s Struggle for Equal Rights
  • Modern Women’s Movement
    • Feminism = political, economic, and social equality for women
    • Connected to Civil Rights Movement of 1960s
    • Spurred by publication of Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique (1963)
    • National Organization for Women (NOW) formed (1966)
    • Argued for ratification of Equal Rights Amendment (ERA)
    • Targeted gender discrimination by challenging policies and laws in federal courts
    • Advocated and encouraged increasingly prominent role for women in government and politics
gender based discrimination in workplace
Gender discrimination = practice, policy or procedure denies equal treatment to individual or group based on gender

Prohibited by Title VII of Civil Rights Act (1964)

Sexual harassment = unwanted physical or verbal conduct or abuse of a sexual nature that interferes with recipient’s job performance, creates a hostile environment, or carries an implicit or explicit threat of adverse employment consequences

Wage discrimination = women earn $0.77 cents for every $1.00 earned by men despite Equal Pay Act requiring equal pay for equal work ($.59 in 1963)

Glass ceiling = women holding few top positions in professions or businesses

Gender-Based Discrimination in Workplace
affirmative action
Affirmative Action
  • Affirmative Action = policy in admissions or hiring gives special consideration to traditionally disadvantaged groups to overcome present effects of past discrimination
    • Original aimed at advancing women and “minorities”
    • Goes beyond strict interpretation of equal protection
  • Regents of CA v. Bakke (1978)
    • Bakke argued UC Davis’ affirmative action policy constituted “reverse discrimination”
    • Court rules race can be considered as a factor in admissions, just not only factor
  • Adarand Constructors, Inc. v. Peña (1995) – requires “strict scrutiny,” must be tailored to meet compelling state interest
  • Other recent cases have upheld constitutionality of affirmative action programs
  • CA’s passage of Proposition 209 (1996) outlawed affirmative action programs in all state-sponsored institutions (e.g., hiring and college admissions)
special protection for older americans
Special Protection for Older Americans
  • Not protected against discrimination by Civil Rights Act
  • Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) (1967)
    • Prohibits discrimination on basis of age unless age is shown to be bona fide occupational qualification
  • Mandatory Retirement
    • Forced retirement when person reaches certain age
    • Prohibited forced retirement for employees under 70 in most occupations by amendment to ADEA (1978)
securing rights for persons with disabilities
Securing Rights for Persons with Disabilities
  • Not protected from discrimination by Civil Rights Act
  • Protection afforded through Rehabilitation Act, Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board, and Education for All Handicapped Children Act
  • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) (1990)
    • Requires public buildings and services be accessible to persons with disabilities
    • Requires employers make reasonable accommodations
      • Defines “disabilities” as physical or mental impairments that substantially limit everyday activities (e.g., blindness, alcoholism, heart disease, cancer, HIV/AIDS, etc.)
      • Conditions that can be medically corrected (medication, glasses) do not fall under ADA
rights and status of gays and lesbians lgbt
Rights and Status of Gays and Lesbians (LGBT)
  • Gay rights movement for equal rights and protections grew in aftermath of Stonewall incident
    • “shot heard round homosexual world”
  • Most states had anti-sodomy laws now considered unconstitutional
    • Supreme Court upheld law in Bowers v. Hardwick (1986) made homosexual conduct between two adults a crime
    • Court ruled in Lawrence v. Texas such laws violate 14th amendment’s due process law
    • 12 (+) states, 230 (+) municipalities have laws protecting homosexuals from discrimination
outstanding issues
Outstanding Issues
  • Gays in Military
    • Clinton (1993) policy “don’t ask, don’t tell” (DADT)
    • Overturned by Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Repeal Act of 2010 (Obama signed 12/22/10)
  • Same-sex Marriages
    • Highly controversial
    • Various states have made movement (CA,
    • Conflict over definition of marriage
    • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Same-sex_marriage
  • Child Custody and Adoption
    • Courts no longer deny custody or visitation to persons solely on basis of sexual orientation